There’s nothing quite as exhilarating or exciting as spur-of-the-moment adventures, is there? After receiving an unexpected evening off of work right before our official day off, a few friends and I decided that we wanted to go to Capri. Capri, an island off the coast of Naples, is an island that I have always wanted to visit since I was a little girl. My beautiful mother read constantly to me and my siblings while we were growing up, and one of our favorite books was called Red Sails to Capri. The story takes place on the Island of Capri, and is about a boy whose parents own a mountainside inn. Travelers come to the island, and become obsessed with the mysterious Blue Grotto located there, which the locals fear. It’s a beautiful story, but you should read it for yourself! Anyway, ever since hearing this story as a young girl, I have dreamed of visiting the mysterious Blue Grotto for myself. So when the chance arose, I took it.
My friends and I decided it would be cheaper and easier to rent a car and drive to Naples, about a 4 hour drive, rather than take the train. Since it was still early in the afternoon, we figured we might as well drive down that evening. Somehow, we got into our heads that we wanted to stay at a campground. (I don’t even know, don’t ask!). And so, we desperately searched and emailed numerous places, waiting for a response. Not many people had accommodations so last minute, but one campground emailed back. They had two bungalows available, and we took the chance. Quickly we packed, and headed down the funicular to pick up the car. We got some gas, then we were on our way.
Approximately 4 hours later, we arrived at the campground, called Il Volcano Solfatara. It seems so obvious now, but we didn’t realize that the campground was in the middle of a sulfuric volcano. I know, how did we not guess that?? Despite smelling of rotten eggs from the sulfur, the campground was really quite beautiful. It was probably around 90 degrees Fahrenheit in our cabins, so we really felt like we were getting the full volcanic experience.
We woke up with the sun at around 5:45am, packed up, and headed to the dock to catch the 7:55 boat to Capri. The boat ride lasted a little over an hour, but we sat outside and enjoyed the fresh air and the view of the Tyrrhenian Sea. After arriving, we bought our tickets for the boat tour of the Island, which included a stop at the Blue Grotto.
The tour went completely around the island, and stops included the White Grotto, Arco Naturale, the Green Grotto, Faro di Punta Carena, and more, 12 in total. The final stop was the Blue Grotto, my main destination. It is a popular attraction, so when we got there, there were about 15 boats full of passengers around the entrance, waiting their turn to see the magical grotto. The entrance to the grotto is very small, open probably about 2 feet above the water, and less than 5 feet wide. To get into the grotto, you must climb out of your large boat into a small canoe guided by an worker of the grotto. Once you have 4 or 5 people in your canoe, you wait your turn to enter. Because the entrance is so small, when you go through, you must lie nearly completely flat on the bottom of your boat, so as to not hit your head on the rock. All this hassle is absolutely more than worth it. Once inside, your thrown into sudden darkness. But when the boatman puts his oar back into the water, the churning water illuminates, and becomes an iridescent azure blue. Then you look back and see that the rest of the water behind you is the same, shining color. The boatman begins to sing a song in Italian, and all the other visitors in the grotto disappear. You touch the warm, crystal water with your fingers and feel magic. It’s easy to forget that there is a perfectly logical explanation for the phenomenon. A combination of the clear water, white sands on the bottom of the grotto, and the sunlight entering in a perfectly precise way explains it, but it’s easy to see why locals used to fear it. It appears other-worldly. They believed it to be inhabited by monsters.
For me, this was the highlight of my day, but the whole day was beautiful. We finished our tour and returned to land for a panino before catching our boat back to Naples to return to our car for the drive home.
This was easily one of the best days I have had in Italy. I was thinking all day about how amazing life is, and how we end up doing things we never ever thought could happen. Not all young dreams come true, but occasionally one does. When it does, it is incredible. I feel so grateful and blessed to have this dream come true, and I will never forget it! Next time, I will be bringing my storyteller, my Momma, along with, so she can fulfill this dream too.